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Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: 3 versions I know of
If you have seen one of the early films you can, if you like that sort of thing, compare it to this one. Many scenes are repeated but changed.
For example, in 2 earlier films the bat rigs up a trip wire to a light switch so if he gets cornered he can switch the light off with his foot. In this movie the bat doesn't rig anything with the light but he does turn off a light in an unexpected way when cornered.
In the 'Bat Whispers' a large ball rolls down the giant staircase making a racket. In this film something more substantial falls down the stairs and makes a racket.
And there's a scene of the excited maid reading the news reports of the bat's crimes to Van Gorder. This happens in all the films. Van Gorder is knitting in the early films while in this movie she is playing solitare.
My favorite version is an early talkie, The Bat Whispers, made in 1930 with Chester Morris. The camera work made a big impression on me. Shadows of hands that open doors rather the hands themselves and shadows that expand in size in no relation to what they represent. And there are some excellent scenes using miniatures and a camera that is moving at a good pace to keep up with a car or a running man.
The silent version, made in 1926, is essentially the 1930 movie with no sound, and a bat costume that looks more like a bat, and what may be a rather silly looking bat. It was made by the same guy as the early talkie, Roland West. Jack Pickford plays the bank clerk.
Now this version here is not so gloomy and gothic as its 2 predecessors.
This film is a crime drama or straight mystery but with a satiric quality. There's a creepiness to it, just not the same kind--more gritty. More people get killed. More conversations. Makes good use of tension between characters to keep it edgy. Reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock Presents .. that sort of thing.
Subject: Agnes Moorehead was a brilliant Actress
Ms. Moorehead could portray Comedic, Dramatic, and Mystery and Horror with great competence. I like her Radio Performances as much as her Film and Television roles.
The Bat is made more creepy by her presence. I also loved her in the Twilight Zone episode called 'The Invaders'. She didn't utter a single word and it was a gripping episode.
Subject: To swampskunk1313
The widescreen version would be public domain also. In a pinch, you can use VLC to rip a movie from dvd, but it doesn't do two-pass transcoding; you'll have to use a high bit-rate or copy the video unchanged.
Just bought this the other day for $2.00 at a pawn shop. Is the widescreen version PD? If it is, I will try to find a ripping and conversion program to put it up here. Can anyone recomend any? Oh, love this movie.
Subject: Highly Recommended
Marvellous film! An intelligent murder mystery with many suspects, brilliantly told and well paced, wonderful actors, mostly unknown to me. Of course, I love Vincent Price since many years and even more since I saw this movie, but I hardly knew Agnes Moorehead and of Gavin Gordon (Lt. Anderson) I knew nothing at all. But I will never forget!
Subject: The Bat
I had all but forgotten what a strong actress Agnes Moorehead was. What a delightful film! Full of plot twists, murders and even a murder mystery writer as the heroine. Great intertainment for a rainy day.
Subject: Great Film
Excellent film! They just don't make 'em like that anymore.
Subject: Well worth watching
I agree with Best, this is definitely an above average film.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Subject: Good Old Fashioned Murder in a Mansion Tale
Agnes Moorehead and Vincent Price make this a good film.
Moorehead plays the author who rents the old mansion. She stays there with her loyal personal servant who also serves as comic relief in the movie. The two women must stay in the house alone at first, because all the other servants have quit because of eerie happenings in the house.
The owner of the home has stolen some money, but will he get to spend it? The thief frames a young banking co-worker for the crime.
Lady author is able to hire more servants and the stage is set for a night to remember with the servants, the Lady author, the accused man's wife and a special witness all spending the night together in the old mansion.
Are they safe from the nephew who has come to find the building plans for the house?
What secrets does the town doctor hide from nice people? And, why does the policeman treat him suspiciously?
Will the young banker be able to clear his name?
Will the bat kill one of the women at the mansion?
Will they sweet young witness live to testify for the young banker?
WHO is the bat?
While the plot is a little weak in places, this film is above average on the whole and really good for a copy-right free film.